Seen as passé after the failure of the last two attempts, another GMA impeachment has been filed. This time around, Atty. Roel Pulido had the brilliant idea. He did it after filing a complaint against Speaker Jose de Venecia for unethical conduct in relation to the ZTE broadband scandal.
Many read another Lozano in the Pulido impeachment filing–that such a “weak” 3-page complaint would “immunize” the president for one year from impeachment. The hullabaloo it caused in Malacañang seems to belie this theory. A hurried full meeting of the ruling coalition–complete with the reported giving of early Christmas gifts–was held immediately after the filing. It is simply unbelievable for such a meeting to talk about the usual national budget and the usual state of Pag-asa weather or Metro traffic.
There is basis to speculate that Atty. Pulido is a third party to the GMA-JDV conflict who really wishes a definitive ending to the conflict. It is called “throwing down the gauntlet to the protagonists” or, in a way, “kibitzing” in the chess of power in the country.
What matters is that the ZTE scandal is threatening to eat a bigger target after Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos fell prey earlier. The situation is serious because of the new factor in the equation. The real rift between the GMA and the JDV camp threatens the solidity of the ruling coalition–a coalition that weathered the political storm of the past three years.
This is compounded by a lot of factors: among them are the continued political challenges coming from the opposition, the inexorable deadline of the 2010 end-of-GMA-term, the wily play of the presidentiables, the US and Western concern over growing Chinese influence, health problems of key administration players, and the flexing of the military’s political clout.
These factors are leading to a growing perception of a lameduck GMA presidency. This may not yet be the case but it cannot anymore be denied that, if no decisive GMA policy decision on the political crisis is forthcoming, the perception will take hold and influence the decisions of the various key players.
Atty. Pulido’s impeachment complaint–however haphazard it may seem to many–acquires significance beyond its original assessment in the light of this current political reality. Considering the political nature of an impeachment process, a significant coalition of legislators in the lower House can seize and railroad the process (only 80 votes needed for impeachment). They can shortcut the process and give it to the Senate.
Such a possibility spooked Malacañang and hence its attempt to hold the line with the ruling coalition majority. It may entail more concessions to the JDV camp. On the other hand, it may also precipitate an ouster move on him. What is clear is the signs of nervousness (and suspicion) that everyone exhibits when looking at his or her neighbor in the coalition.
Shifting loyalties–such is the stuff of transitions and wind of political change.